There is also the question of transmission of disease. The gross out factor with eating large apes and monkeys is perhaps nature's way of warning us that when we eat animals whose genomes are too close to ours we may be risking serious disease pathways. So, to add to all of the accurate comments below, I'd like to speculate. Really folks, there is actual Good out there on which you could report. Reading Partners, no more styrofoam in NYC Schools, which is the largest school district in the U.S., Museum of Math travel packs that help kids who are not being taught appropriately... if I knew more about other issues I'd suggest more. Let's kick in so the Good journalists can crowd source some true good.
carbanel commented on a link
There are some powerful assumptions here. First, my babies were home in their beds. Then they were teens, as was I, a troubled young white girl who was out at 3:00 a.m., doing far worse than what Trayvon did. I was smoking pot, racing cars, all sorts of things. Being a white girl from a moneyed family protected me. I was never once questioned, by anyone.
I am a productive citizen, homeowner, college educated mother of three who has been married for decades to the same wonderful man. Trayvon wasn't killing babies, he was dealing with teen angst, a blended family, and a lack of direction. None of this made him a criminal.
A man who is told to leave matters to the police murdered him. Everyone is taught that the best defense is a good offense. How dare an adult make assumptions. My Amerasian kids look Mexican. Their friends are all mixed race, and some of their friends are the only people of color, aside from one of both of their parents, in their entire Massachusetts and Connecticut towns, excluding the 'live-ins'. Their non-white parents make absolutely sure that these kids dress well, use umbrellas versus hoods, and always show their hands. How sad is that.
I guess you don't care if someone murders my baby.
carbanel commented on a link
I completely disagree that standardized test should be 'augmented' by a portfolio. Do you have any idea how many teachers and parents do the work of children who are falling behind? A carefully crafted test gives far more insight, and yes, a carefully crafted test includes an essay and is not limited to Arithmetic / Math and ELA, which doesn't even include actual grammar. Opting out is like refusing to negotiate - you don't actually engage the problem. I have no issue with my 11 and 14 year old children taking tests. Indeed, they learn and retain more when there is a need, and the test is a need. Putting something at stake makes them focus in ways that they otherwise wouldn't. I'd also love to take issue with the idea of "The Hobbit" being bad. In what way is a fun novel bad for children? Would you rather they got lost in video games? My major in college was painting, and I routinely take / drag my children to museums, but natural history, science and math museums are included. Let's be clear. A shoddy test produces children who grow to know how to test and nothing else. A test that encompasses the totality of what a human should know at a given age is superior. I wish NYC had enough money to continue the fifth grade social studies test. Needing to write for that taught my 14 year old enormously. His sister didn't have it, and her entire year's class never wrote as cogently. Perhaps the teachers felt less urgency in teaching those valuable writing skills? Again, the value of testing is based on the test, and not showing up doesn't improve the test.
carbanel commented on a link
Are some teachers wonderful? Yes. Are some awful? Yes. You're not looking at the real issues, which all of the above-mentioned 'villians' are.
1. The New York City math curriculum repeats the exact same material for children in fifth and sixth grades, which has a fair amount of overlap with the fourth grade curriculum. Want to make kids hate math? Bore the pants off of them and succeed. Grammar, parts of speech, and basic pronunciation rules are no longer taught.
2. Firing ineffective teachers remains nigh on impossible. I have seen spectacular teachers and teachers who are so bad that even smart children end up in extended day extra help. I know classes where every child who was not afforded outside tutoring scored lower on state tests. With another teacher the following year, their scores popped back up.
3. Testing, consistent, smart testing, ensures that children have actually learned the material and gives the teacher a regular snapshot of how much material the students retained from the week's lessons on an individual basis. State testing is not a bugaboo. It is a method for us to ensure that our children are being taught what they need to know regardless of location, and to ensure that kids who are ready can advance, and those who need extra help get it. It is far higher stakes for each child than for the teacher. After all, the teachers have the union. The kids only have parents who are facing a protected union.
4. Charter schools. Yes, teachers who have not joined the union - perhaps because the union is disgracefully corrupt and protects even child molesters in New York City so the affiliation is tainted - deserve a place to teach. I have seen more than one teacher who annoyed a principal fired and have to fight in court. This is fair, but expensive and time consuming. I've seen teachers who don't want to limit children to the curriculum, teachers who have students scoring extremely well on state tests across the classroom across several years, and who are penalized for this. Those teachers often annoy principals and the others who teach the same grade. Where else but charters for these people?
The list is endless, but that is the gist. There are spectacular teachers and no one is fighting against them. We are fighting a lousy curriculum, lack of funding for excellent testing, and continued support of all teachers, regardless of quality. In no other industry are the failures so well protected. Support to help a teacher who is not doing well should be required. After a reasonable time span, learn the job or leave, please. Our children shouldn't be subjected to a poorly thought curriculum taught by inept teachers.
Again, many teachers are inspiring and wonderful. My guess is 80%. Are you willing to toss out 20% of our children who have to study with them? Learn from them? I'm not.
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